What is a cash drawer?
A cash drawer is a secure drawer that sits under your front counter and holds your cash. Every time a customer makes a purchase, the cash drawer will open for you to put in the cash and take out the customer’s change.
In most cases, the cash drawer will connect to your receipt printer. When your point-of-sale makes a transaction, it tells the receipt printer to start printing, and the receipt printer tells the cash drawer to open. It’s like a long daisy-chain.
Which cash drawer features did we consider?
We interviewed a number of small businesses to understand what cash drawer features are important to them. Based on their feedback and our first-hand experience, we focused our criteria on the following features:
- Connectivity: The best cash drawers will connect to a receipt printer, which tells the cash drawer to automatically open when you put through a transaction. We like cash drawers that come with standard RJ12 connections that work with common front counter hardware.
- Durability & warranty: Your cash drawer will literally be opening and closing hundreds of times per day. And, let’s be honest, we’re not very gentle with them. We are looking for cash drawers that can stand years of everyday use (or abuse), and are covered by a generous long-term warranty.
- Security: The most secure cash drawers will have a reinforced stainless steel shell, be key lockable, and have mounting points to secure the drawer to something solid, like your front counter.
- Till configuration: It goes without saying that your cash drawer should have enough compartments for every Australian coin and note. We give extra points to cash drawers that can also store eftpos merchant receipts, and those that have adjustable or replacement compartments.
- Price: Last but not least, cash drawers are a simple piece of hardware and the price should reflect that. Our philosophy is that you should be spending money on things that are more important for your business… like inventory and marketing.
Best overall cash drawer: The VPOS EC410 Cash Drawer
The VPOS EC410 Cash Drawer is most likely the best selling cash drawer in Australia. It ticks all the boxes at a very competitive price, so it’s easy to see why!
It’s simple, understated design and black colourway guarantees that the VPOS EC410 will suit any store aesthetic. And it comes in an industry-standard size of 410mm x 415mm x 110mm, so there’s no doubt that it will fit under your counter.
It connects to a wide variety of receipt printers using the common RJ12 connection and the 1.6m long cable should fit any layout you can dream up.
You can also rest assured that your cash is stored safely and securely. The outer shell is made of solid steel and the drawer is key lockable. And you can also purchase mounting brackets to permanently secure the cash drawer to your front counter.
Finally — and this might be the most impressive part — the VPOS EC410 has an RRP of $179 but you can pick it up for as low as $64 (ex-GST) from POS Sales!
Best compact cash drawer: The VPOS EC350 Cash Drawer
Our pick for best compact cash drawer is the VPOS EC410’s little brother, the VPOS EC350 Cash Drawer.
In fact, the easy way to remember the difference is that the EC410 is 410mm wide, whereas the EC350 is 350mm wide. The smaller with makes the VPOS EC350 a better solution if you don’t have lots of space at your front counter.
Like the larger version, it is made out of solid steel and comes with a key lock as standard. Plus, you can also purchase mounting brackets to permanently secure the cash drawer to your front counter.
It connects to a wide variety of receipt printers using the industry-standard RJ12 connection and includes an even longer 2m cable than the EC410.
The only differences between the VPOS EC350 and its larger brother, are that the VPOS EC350 comes with a stainless steel front and comes with non-removable coin tray. None of which are deal-breakers in our opinion.
You can pick up the VPOS EC350 from at low as $85 (ex-GST) from QuickPOS.
Best USB cash drawer: The Posiflex CR3115 USB Cash Drawer
As we mentioned earlier, in most cases, your cash drawer will connect to your receipt printer. When your point-of-sale makes a transaction, it tells the receipt printer to start printing, and the receipt printer tells the cash drawer to open.
But if your business doesn’t need a receipt printer, then you’ll want a cash drawer that connects directly to your point-of-sale. The best solution for this is a USB cash drawer.
Our pick for best USB cash drawer is the Posiflex CR3115. This is a full-sized USB cash drawer, sizing up at 400mm x 410mm x 85mm. It also comes with a ’true’ USB connection, unlike other products which simply include an RJ12 to USB adaptor.
Of course, it also comes with all your standard cash drawer features, including steel construction, a 5 note and 6 coin inner tray, and is key lockable.
Unfortunately, because USB cash drawers are less common than receipt-driven cash drawers, they cost substantially more. You can pick up the Posiflex CR-3115 for $190 (ex-GST) from Cash Register Warehouse.
Best serial cash drawer: The Posiflex CR4101 Serial Cash Drawer
To start with, we don’t recommend that you choose a serial cash drawer. Back in the day, if you didn’t need a receipt printer and wanted to connect your cash drawer directly to your point-of-sale, then you would use a serial cash drawer.
These days, we have USB cash drawers, which are a newer technology that is better supported by modern computers. Honestly, you’re better off using USB.
But if you really insist on using a serial cash drawer, our pick would be the Posiflex CR4101 Serial Cash Drawer. This cash drawer includes all your expected cash drawer features, including steel construction, a 5 note and 6 coin inner tray, and is key lockable.
It measures up at 428mm x 460mm x 100mm, which makes it about 50mm deeper than most cash drawers. It also comes with a power supply, which will require some additional space. So bear these in mind when you are considering this option.
Unfortunately, like USB cash drawers, serial cash drawers are quite uncommon, so they cost substantially more. You can pick up the Posiflex CR4101 serial cash drawer for $180 (ex-GST) from Cash Register Warehouse.
Best flip-top cash drawer: The VPOS Heavy Duty Flip Top Cash Drawer
Flip-top cash drawers are a very uncommon format of cash drawer. Instead of a drawer that slides out from the front of the cash drawer, a flip-top cash drawer as a lid that pops up.
You’d only consider using a flip-top cash drawer if you had very little space at your front counter or if you did not have a shelf suitable for a traditional cash drawer.
Our pick for the best flip-top cash drawer is the VPOS Heavy Duty Flip Top Cash Drawer. This cash drawer is great because it can be used manually with the inbuilt lock and key, or electronically through the RJ12 connector like a standard cash drawer.
It has a small footprint of 460mm x 170mm x 100mm, yet it still has more than enough note slots and coin slots. It also has a nice understated design, with a black base and brushed metal lid.
You can pick up the VPOS Heavy Duty Flip Top Cash Drawer for $177 (ex-GST) from POS Central.
Bonus: Turn your RJ12 cash drawer into a USB cash drawer
We’ll leave you with a little tip. If you already have an RJ12 cash drawer but no longer need a receipt printer, then you will not be able to connect your cash drawer to your point-of-sale.
But don’t throw away your RJ12 cash drawer and buy a USB cash drawer. Instead, pick yourself up a USB Cash Drawer Trigger Module. These adaptors allow you to connect your RJ12 cash drawer to your Windows PC point-of-sale.
As always, best to check with your point-of-sale provider to confirm that everything is compatible. But if it is, then you’re cheering!